The Ultimate Guide to Worship Guitar Tone:
What are Modulation Pedals?
Modulation is a broad categorical term covering a group of effects. There are many different forms of Modulation Pedals such as Tremolo, Chorus, Phaser, Vibrato, Flanger, Frequency Shifters, Panners, Rotary Drums, and Ring Modulators.
Individual Mod Pedals will set you back. If you aren't 100% sure which mod type you are going to like, I suggest getting a pedal that covers all the different modulation effects. The BOSS Modulation Guitar Pedal (MD-500) is a great choice for many modulation effects in one unit.
Another possiblity would be the Eventide ModFactor Modulation Pedal. Eventide is a widely used pedal brand in the Worship Guitar genre. They are well known for their Eventide H9 Harmonizer/Delay Pedal and the Eventide TimeFactor Twin Delay Pedal
These are easily overlooked effects that can really add that last bit of sparkle to your tone. The key is to use them tastefully so that the effect doesn't overtake your entire tone profile. If you were to add a Chorus pedal to your chain, and leave it on at 100% your tone is going to sound like an 1980's Eddie Van Halen song. However turning the mix down to 5 or 10% can add an extra layer of texture to your tone without being overbearing.
Pitch Vibrato - My Favorite Mod
I've found pitch vibrato at the front of my signal chain, right before the amp makes a world of difference to my clean tone. Think of the way a singer holds out a single note. Do they stay on that note exactly, or do they bend it ever so slightly up and down? Thats what a good pitch vibrato does to a guitar signal (single notes or full chords).
With the pitch vibrato you may find that it colors your overdrive/distortion tone too much in the higher frequencies. I prefer to turn it off for driven guitar parts during solos or leads.
A very plain sounding clean tone can be transformed by the right mod effect. The only way to truly get the perfect Modulation for your tone is by trying every sub-category. Its very hard to explain what each one does, and have it make any sense in terms of YOUR TONE. I would highly recommend talking to friends or mentors in the Worship Guitar Scene to find out which ones they prefer.
What is a Boost Pedal?
A boost pedal in simple terms, is a guitar effects pedal that "boosts" your volume. Now, it can be much more than that, but for explaination's sake it is a pedal that lead guitarists use to increase their volume (and/or gain) during solos or lead parts.
One commonly used and highly rated boost pedals is the TC Electronic Spark Booster Effects Pedal.
Boost Pedals can come in many forms, and aren't necessarily confined to one pedal category. Some players might use a Compression Pedal as their boost. Others may use an Overdrive or Volume Pedal with a built in boost switch. It really depends on your budget and preferences. On my rig, I have an EXP Pedal dedicated to Boost on some songs, and Reverb Mix on other songs.
If you have the budget, and extra room on your pedalboard...then I say go for it! Get yourself a standalone boost pedal, because there is nothing worse than being in the middle of a solo and nobody can hear it. It happens.
Nice to Have but Non-Essential
EQ (Equalizer) Pedals
What is an EQ Pedal?
The term "EQ Pedal" is short for "Equalizer Pedal". This type of pedal is used to adjust the low, middle, and high frequencies of your guitar signal. You are probably thinking "But isn't that exactly what the low, mid, and high knobs on my amp do?". And yes, you would be correct to think that. Let me explain.
Amplifiers almost always come with some type of equalizer knobs. Most commonly low, mid, and high knobs. The thing is...each of those individual knobs cover a broad spectrum of frequencies. You couldn't adjust or dial out specific frequencies like 93 Hz or 1.1 kHz.
You would have to be satisfied with adjusting the high and low knobs. I like to think of EQ pedals as a means to adjust the frequencies between the low and mid knobs, and between the mid and high knobs. That is exactly what they are meant to be used for.
EQ Pedals can be great for dialing in specific frequencies in the high, mid, and low ranges. It can beef up your tone, or thin it out if its too overwhelming. It can also filter out pesky squeals or hisses that annoy your ear. That being said, your amp or modelers already have a plethora of EQ controls built in. EQ pedals are a secondary concern, and not something you need to buy when just building out your new rig.
What is a Noise Gate?
A noise gate pedal is basically what it sounds like it is. It is a gate that stops annoying hiss, hum, and feedback from carrying over from your guitar to your amp. Single coil guitars are infamous for the 60 cycle hum they produce. A noise gate filters that out.
You know how when you turn up your gain or distortion, you get a loud hissing or scratching when you stop playing? Thats when you know that you need a noise gate. There a regular noise gates, hard gates, distortion pedals w/ built-in gates, noise suppressors, and the list goes on.
For the standard Worship Guitar Rig, a simple run of the mill noise gate pedal will do the trick. There are a plethora available, as with all guitar pedals, but if it were me I would go with the MXR M-135 Smart Gate Noise Gate Pedal.
I hope this was informative, and at least a bit helpful. The main thing to keep in mind, is that this is a process. Good tone takes time. You will experience disappointment. You will experience elation. You will learn a great deal, and you will achieve tonal maturity...eventually.
There will be a point when your rig feels complete, and then it won't. Thus the quest for perfect tone continues. Thats guitar, and you chose it. In the end, it is worth it.
If you have questions or need advice you can contact me directly at .
The Axe Dr.
Single Mod vs Multi-Mod Pedals
Worship Guitar Tone Basics
Noise Gates for Worship Guitar
Frequently Asked Questions
What is "Worship Guitar?"
"Worship Guitar" is a niche or style of guitar playing. Many churches have a Praise & Worship Team that leads the congregation in songs, almost like a live concert. There are usually two to three guitarists in any one team. (Along with Bass, Drums, Keyboard/Synth, Vocals, etc.)
What is the best electric guitar for worship?
The short answer is, the one you like to play. However there is a short list of guitars that sound amazing and are particularly well suited to the Worship Genre.
5. Gretsch Double Jet (w/ Bigsby)
4. G&L Doheny or Fender Offset (Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Mustang)
3. G&L ASAT or Fender Telecaster
2. Veritas Mini Master
1. Veritas Portlander (Used by all guitarists of Bethel Music)